WHERE THE INTERNET LIVES : Photographer Connie Zhou Inside Google Data Center

Look around on the web, and you’ll find plenty of photographs of Google’s colorful offices in Mountain View (AKA the Googleplex) and around the world. Finding images shot from inside the company’s tightly-guarded data centers is much harder, since only a handful of employees are allowed to roam the spaces where the “web lives.” However, Google recently invited photographer Connie Zhou inside a number of its high-tech data centers.


“I grew up in New York City and went to La Guardia, a performing arts high school. I got into photography there when I was a junior. I grew up with my dad who went to FIT – he was a graphic designer – so art was always around me. I majored in photography at Parsons. From there I started shooting architecture for small architectural companies. I think it’s about how graphic everything is. It interested me how I could make these buildings and structures look graphically pleasing through my photographs. It has always appealed to me more than other genres like portraiture or fashion. Mostly I was using available light, especially for the exteriors. I would wake up at 4 AM and watch the sunrise and stay until 10 PM when it’s dark. For the interiors, I mostly used available light, but if I need to balance some areas or if it was really dark, I’d use some Profoto strobes. Most of these server rooms are very well lit. When I was shooting, I actually had to get them to turn off all the lights on the floor and then peek around to see what was glowing. Then I’d take the picture and let the light bleed through onto my sensor”. Images that show incredible scale, mind-numbing repetition, and quirky colors. The massive server rooms house tens of thousands of servers that handle your searches and all of the services offered by the search giant. Google says that the rainbow-colored pipes aren’t just for show; the colors help the employees quickly determine which is which. You can see high-res versions of these photos and many more over at a new website Google set up, called “Where the Internet lives.” For more information or to get in touch with Connie, we invite you to follow the links bellow.